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Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
England's 'most violent' detention centre
Jail
Assaults at Ashfield exceed the national average
Ashfield Young Offenders Institution at Pucklechurch near Bristol is by far the most violent prison in England and Wales.

Figures published on Thursday show the privately-run jail has the highest rate of assaults on staff and prisoners.

The Prison Reform Trust figures show the 30m institution which opened three years ago, easily wins its unsavoury accolade.

In May the then director was removed and replaced by a Home Office governor after a period of unrest and sackings.


The prison service recognised there were problems with safety at Ashfield and acted swiftly.

Home Office statement

Three quarters of staff and prisoners at Ashfield have been assaulted in the past year, according to the figures.

This compares with an average of just 10% of inmates and prison officers suffering attacks at other jails elsewhere.

But, at Eastwood Park women's jail in South Gloucestershire, the number of assaults is almost double the national average at 19%.

Bristol's Horfield prison recorded a 10% rate and Gloucester, a 5% rate.

Leyhill Open prison in Gloucestershire, Erlestoke in Wiltshire and Shepton Mallet in Somerset did not record a single assault.

'New measures'

The Prison Service and Premier Custodial Services refused to be interviewed but both issued statements.

The Home office said: "The prison service recognised there were problems with safety at Ashfield and acted swiftly to install an experienced management team.

"New measures designed to reduce bullying and violence have now been introduced."

Premier dismissed some of the concerns claiming that as the prison houses volatile young men, many incidents classed as assaults are just typical teenage behaviour.


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02 Aug 01 | UK
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